A small horned monster Trapa natans, which settles in rivers and reservoirs and has been anchored by all four limbs for millions of years, has several names - buffalo nut, devil pod, bat nut, ling nut, mustache nut or singhada. The plant is very tenacious. It has no enemies in nature. The seeds can germinate in ten years. The species are floating annual aquatic plants, growing in slow-moving water up to 5 m deep, native to warm temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa. If the water level rises suddenly, a stem separates from the bottom and continues its growth, when water level drops, roots fall back to the ground and take root.
Some people call for the protection of the plant in the sanctuaries and listed it in the Red Data Book of Ukraine, others - swear for uncontrolled growth, damage to water bodies and beaches, suffocation of fish and more. But both unanimously agree that there should be a comprehensive solution to the problem.
At the service of man
In particular, the “troublemaker” of peace and ecology has long been used in food (there is no guarantee that soon the dishes of this nut can become fashionable and popular), medicine, perfumery and more. However, graduate Dariia Naumenko of the Institute of Energy Saving and Energy Management of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, guided by Doctor of Technical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Geoengineering IEE Tetiana Volodymyrivna Hrebeniuk, is studying it to use in industry.
‘In my work, I want to suggest using water caltrop as a fuel and as a filtrate. I do not mean the mass use of the plant, because it will again lead to the species extinction. But certain companies located near water objects can process its fruits (nuts) to regulate the reproduction of this African alien,’ the student says.
‘The topic of “taming” the water nut belongs to Dariia, while I am supervising her in certain researches and possible research directions,’ Tetiana Hrebeniuk says. ‘Such work attracts attention because no one has studied this topic in Ukraine yet. The water caltrop spread gives reason to think about possible methods required to cope with it and its use in industry. We have many ideas. Some of them have already been confirmed by the calculation method, and experimental research is planned in the future.’